The Case of The Missing People

Letters to Pomona

–by Heather Murphy

When I was young, it was not unusual for my father to “crash” at the apartment I lived in with my mother and stepfather. I used to picture him smashing his blue car into our living room when I heard the adults talking about him coming over. He often missed it when they held court, most weekends, with their hash and quadraphonic stereo, preferring the bar instead. He would come over later in the evenings to play cards and talk, or, he would come over drunk, in the middle of the night, and get into my bed–dressed–with his boots on, smelling of old spice and beer, and he would tell me stories about his days at school with the nuns and how mean they were, and we would play animal, mineral, or vegetable, or name that tune, until he would start snoring. I hated it when he…

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An Anniversary With Fire

Letters to Pomona

–by Heather Murphy

Eleven years ago to the day, I was driven up to the emergency entrance of the birthing center in a nearby Southern Oregon town, excited, afraid, and as ready as I could be for the sixteen hours of hallucinatory labor that would follow before my stubborn son was surgically extracted from me. The home birth had deteriorated. It diverted as far off course as I’d let my imagination run during the early months of the pregnancy when irrational fears can get the best of you at any given moment.

But I had my game face on. This was going to be a magical experience, regardless of how many surgical instruments might be implemented.

As they wheeled me in, ash rained down on me from the Biscuit Fire, unceremoniously decorating my hair with its ruined confetti. The fire wasn’t “close,” but it was close enough, and it was…

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